The Sunday Gleaner: KINGTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) has revealed that more than a third of hotel workers say they will not be taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a release today underscoring its commitment to working with the government to distribute and sensitise the population about the vaccine, the JHTA said a recent survey done among hotel employees showed that 35 per cent of them said they would “definitely take the vaccine”; 42 percent were undecided, and 23 percent said “definitely not.”

However, the JHTA says it’s confident it can help to sway those who are undecided on whether to get inoculated.

“…if our ambassadors are activated like we did in teaching communities about the safety protocols, we are certain we could convert most of those undecided to yes. We know you will get the vaccines minister, we want to help ensure that our people will take it,” the release quotes president of the JHTA, Clifton Reader as saying. He was speaking during a meeting with JHTA councillors and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.

He said the ambassadors, who are hotel employees, are trained in COVID-19 safety and health protocols and stand ready to assist with sensitising the public.

He said the JHTA is also willing and able to assist with distribution of the vaccines through its distribution centres.

“We want to partner with you, we have potential distribution centres in all the major tourist regions with commitments from some member hoteliers to provide support for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. We are fully committed to working for Jamaica,” the JHTA release quoted Reader.

Meanwhile, Reader also urged the government to consider approving other treatments to reduce the number of hospitalisations due to COVID-19. The ministry noted that up to yesterday there were 252 people in hospitals across the country being treated for the infectious and deadly disease, 20 of whom were critically ill.

“To stem the flow of hospitalisations, we need to seriously consider approval of other drug treatments being used successfully overseas, as well as stress the health and safety protocols that have been proving successful in the tourism industry.  Let’s get some of our local celebrities and influencers to promote the vaccines and the health and safety protocols”, Reader recommended.

  • Top Feature Photo: President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Clifton Reader